The British Legion

LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

The Faringdon Branch was formed in 1924, and the President and Chairman from 1924 to 1963 was Vice-Admiral Clifton Brown. Capt. Wilkins was Secretary from 1924 to 1951. From then, for a time, this office was undertaken by Mr. G. Goddard – 1951, Mr. A. Holloway from 1952-1957, and Mr. G. R. Davies from 1957-1965. Since then the Secretary has been Mr. R. Hughes of Buckland. Mr. W. Chambers has been President since 1963 and Mr. F. J. Green, Treasurer.

Looking through a Minute Book used before the 1939-45 War, the name of Mr. Reg Hawes plays a very important part in all aspects of the Legion, holding many offices. He was one of its founder members. There also appear the names of Mr. H. Hancock, Mr. R. Burton and Mr. E.G. Betterton, who gave valuable committee service for many years.

During the early days of the Branch’s history, the Kingston Lisle Band and the R.A.O.B. Band provided the music for Remembrance Day Parades. In the minute book one reads of Mrs. H. C, Rose providing Tea Parties for needy children of ex-Service men, especially at Christmas, and mention is made of the Women’s Institute for their care of the War Memorial, a task which they still carry out to the present day. The Faringdon War Memorial is unique in that the W. I. provide fresh flowers all the year round. Where else would you find this done? Many thanks ladies.

On the occasion of King George V’s funeral at Windsor in 1936, the Standard of the Branch was carried by Mr. Hawes.

The Faringdon Branch was responsible for Posts in Littleworth, Buckland, Longworth, Stanford and Uffington, but now these Posts have become defunct though their loyal members continue with the Parent Branch, now called the Faringdon & District Branch of the Royal British Legion.

Branch meetings are held every 3rd Wednesday in the month. It is Branch Policy never to divulge the names of people who receive help either from Branch or National Funds. Some people must know of course, but they keep a very silent tongue so as not to embarrass anyone.

It is the duty of all members to bring to the notice of the officers and committee anyone who may be in need of assistance one way or another, and then it is of the utmost importance, after a visit by a Branch Official, to decide on the best way the Branch can help, and this is done as quickly as possible. If help of a more permanent nature is required then the whole matter is taken by the Branch to National level.

The Faringdon Branch can feel very satisfied with their achievements over nearly fifty years, having won some well-needed comfort for some unfortunate people.

The chief money raiser for Local Benevolent Funds is a Whist Drive and Draw, and this is where we must say a very big “thank you” to all the local Traders for their wonderful help at this time in providing the prizes. This has been going on for many years and usually takes place in the Corn Exchange.

The Annual Dinner is held in the Buckland Memorial Hall in May, and is very well attended. September sees the Harvest Supper. This is the time the Legion excels itself with beautiful floral decorations.

The Branch wishes to thank all those Ladies who, year after year, sell poppies and also Mr. Les Fryer of Buckland who does a magnificent job organising this with Mr. Hawes and Mr. Chambers responsible for the Town area. If, in future years you can help us, please come forward. We shall welcome you with open arms.

LEGION HONOURS

There have been two Awards conferred on members for long and faithful service. During 1964 the late Vice-Admiral Clifton Brown was awarded the Legion’s Gold Badge, and in 1968 Mr. R. Hawes received the same honour. These Awards are made by the National Executive Council and are very hard to achieve, but these two members have given loyal and unselfish service for many, many years. Our Standard Bearer, Mr. C. White of Uffington, paraded the Branch Standard during the Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall in 1967, the first time in the Branch’s history. Mr. Hughes, the Secretary, and Mrs. Hughes attended the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in July 1961, in the Presence of the Queen, the Queen Mother and Prince Philip, a day that they will always remember, in particular for the honour which this invitation bestowed on the Branch. This Garden Party was when the Queen gave the Legion the right to become the Royal Legion.

R. Hughes.

Copied from: Faringdon and the Vale Venture, Issue 20, November 18th 1972